Men can’t hold off late Redlands run

La Verne forward Brandon Rice attempts a shot against the Redlands Bulldogs in the second half at Frantz Athletic Court Feb. 7. The Bulldogs beat the Leopards, 79-73. / photo by Natasha Brennan
La Verne forward Brandon Rice attempts a shot against the Redlands Bulldogs in the second half at Frantz Athletic Court Feb. 7. The Bulldogs beat the Leopards, 79-73. / photo by Natasha Brennan

Catalina Diaz
LV Life Editor

The men’s basketball team fought a closely contested game against the Redlands Bulldogs Wednesday night at Frantz Athletic Court, but ultimately lost, 79-73.

Similar to the team’s previous game against Redlands, La Verne started out strong. The Leopards managed to maintain a four-point lead for most of the first half.

“It was a good game throughout. It went back and forth,” junior guard Alec Vucinich said. “Last game against them, we had a 15-point lead and lost it to similar reasons. They’re a great team that we match up with well.”

Despite the Leopards’ solid start, the Bulldogs stayed right with them and did not let La Verne get an extended lead.

“The end of the first half was the turning point,” Vucinich said. “It put us in a hole we couldn’t fight back from.”

The Leopards’ defense was tight for the first quarter, causing turnovers against Redlands. La Verne used those turnovers and turned them into easy baskets on the other end.

“We really could’ve rebounded a lot better and that’s been a focal point for the entire season,” senior guard Connor Head said.

With 1:30 left on the clock during the first half, junior guard Cole Currie brought the Leopards back to a 35-35 tie with a layup.

The tie was short lived, as a layup by Redlands brought the game to 37-35.

“We get off to good starts in the first half but tend to stay from the things that are working for us in the second half,” Head said.

Although La Verne had a lead for most of the first half, Redlands made a push and took a 40-37 lead into halftime.

“I think we took too many three-points. We were looking for too many easy shots and we could have avoided that,” Vucinich said.

Although La Verne was down in the second half, the Leopards got back into the game and only trailed by four point with six and-a-half minutes to play.

That was as close as they would get as the Leopards could not overcome the deficit.

La Verne had four players score in double figures. Junior guard Cole Currie and senior guard Victor Costa each had 14 points to lead the Leopards.

“We play great for stretches, but it’s hard for us to put it together for all 40 minutes,” Costa said.

Like Vucinich, Costa echoed that the turning point in the game began late in the first half.

“If we rebounded the ball more, made our free throws and took back a few of our turnovers we would have won the game,” Costa said.

“Our weaknesses are easy to tell. We have to start defending better and find a way to consistently make baskets on offense.”

La Verne is 0-23 on the season.

The Leopards will host Caltech Saturday at 2 p.m. then close out the regular season at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Cal Lutheran.

Catalina Diaz can be reached at catalina.diaz@laverne.edu

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